Facebook to give users some control on political ads

Facebook said Thursday it'll give users the option to see fewer political and social issue ads. As Fred Katayama reports, the moves come ahead of the US presidential election in November.

UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - Facing criticism over its stance on political ads, Facebook said on Thursday (Jan 9) it will soon give users the option to cut out some of that messaging.

But it's stopping far short of what critics have called for, and what some of the social network's rivals have vowed to do.

Starting this summer, users will be able to use tools to choose to see fewer political and social issue ads on Facebook and its photo-sharing app, Instagram.

In the first quarter of this year, the company will also make more audience data publicly available. And users can choose to stop seeing all types of ads - not just political ones - based on advertisers' lists of personal data.

These moves come ahead of the United States presidential election in November. But they differ from actions taken by Facebook's rivals. Twitter bans political ads. Google doesn't let advertisers target election ads using data such as public voter records and political affiliations.

And critics - including some in Congress - have taken Facebook to task for not vetting political ads for false or misleading information.

Facebook had considered imposing limits similar to Google's as it battles to quell criticism of its relatively laissez-faire policies. But it decided, in its words, "that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all".